United Way Day of Caring Sees Growing Number of Volunteers

Dr. Ann Caine, OSU Alumni Association member and BBBS Director Stephanie Fry (photo by Sneed
Dr. Ann Caine, OSU Alumni Association member and BBBS Director Stephanie Fry (photo by Christopher Sneed)

Story provided by United Way of Payne County

United Way of Payne County sent 783 volunteers to complete more than 100 community service projects across Payne County during its Day of Caring on Thursday, September 14th.

The annual event saw businesses, groups and individuals register to participate in what has become one of United Way’s biggest community events.

“Day of Caring is an amazing collaboration of our community that brings together volunteers on a single day to perform service projects across Payne County,” Ruth Cavins, UWPC executive director, said. “These projects support our 22 partner agencies and the clients they serve, improve and beautify public spaces, and generate a sense of camaraderie and connection among participants.”

She said businesses often encourage employee participation to promote team-building and a public show of support in their communities.

Some of the projects included Stillwater Designs/Kicker building and repairing homes for Habitat for Humanity, Stillwater Medical Center trimming trees at Mission of Hope and OSU Alumni Association doing yard work for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Projects also took place in Perkins and Cushing, with parks and a food pantry getting cleaned and organized.

Once volunteers had signed up, Kyle Gibbs, who co-chairs the event with April Ebey and Chad Kendrick, assigned each Stillwater group or individual to a project according to team size, skill set, etc. Managing Day of Caring can be a huge process but results can exceed expectations.

“Everything went smooth as silk,” Gibbs said, regarding the 94 projects in Stillwater. “Upon arrival at their sites, many volunteers found additional work they could do.”

Local businesses make Day of Caring successful by contributing necessary materials and supplies to complete projects. Stillwater Medical Center was the presenting sponsor with their $5,000 donation for supplies. This year’s major sponsors included Enbridge, Exchange Bank, OSU Division of Institutional Diversity, Simmons Bank, Stillwater Designs/Kicker, The Carpenter Agency, Tommy’s Express Car Wash, and BancFirst.

Additional sponsorship came from Community Escrow & Title, Central Electric Cooperative, Edward Jones, Manhattan Construction, OnCue, OSU Foundation, Payne County Bank, RCB Bank, Typo Market, Udoka Law, Iron Monk and Nate’s Tree Service.

Day of Caring was originally a national United Way event held all over the country on a specific day in the fall. “Days” of Caring are now scheduled throughout the year in thousands of communities. It also marks the official launch of United Way’s “United We Thrive” annual fundraising campaign.

United Way set the fundraising goal at $1,000,000 for a second year. Last year, it exceeded its goal. This achievement and events such as Day of Caring indicate something important to Gibbs about the community.

“Someone once wrote that the greatest measure of any community is the way in which it cares for its most vulnerable,” Gibbs said. “We are blessed in Payne County.”

When you donate to United Way of Payne County, you support the work of 22 nonprofits, which collectively impact more than 73,000 Payne County individuals and families each year. To learn more or donate visit www.unitedwaypaynecounty.org or call 405-377-2161